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German Data Forum Publishes Handout on Data Protection in Empirical Research

The German Data Forum (Rat für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsdaten, RatSWD) has published a handout on data protection. The aim of the handout is to inform an interested audience, and especially researchers in the social, behavioural, and economic sciences, about the data protection regulation in Germany that is relevant to empirical research. It also serves to strengthen competencies in data protection and the handling of sensitive, personal data while planning a research project.

The German Data Forum works at the interface of science, data production, and data protection. It brings together the competencies of its 16 members and 30 accredited research data centers – who are made up of representatives of data production and research. One of German Data Forum’s main tasks is to advise science and policy.

The handout aims at strengthening data protection competencies in the empirical social, behavioural and economic sciences as well as raising awareness among researchers for data protection issues. This also underscores that science and research take possible concerns of respondents seriously.

The handout provides a succinct overview of relevant aspects of data protection in social, behavioural and economic research. It deals with the principles and requirements of data protection in empirical research projects with a focus on primary and secondary data use. The first part outlines the principles of data protection regulation, the legal framework in Germany, and fundamental concepts. The second part focuses on those aspects of data protection that are relevant before, during and after empirical research projects.
The handout serves as an introduction and does not aim to be a comprehensive account or compendium. It features suggestions for further reading to facilitate a more in-depth understanding of the issues it puts forward.

The publication is available in print and online via the German Data Forum’s business office and the website, respectively.